|Publication number||US6925335 B2|
|Application number||US 09/899,527|
|Publication date||2 Aug 2005|
|Filing date||5 Jul 2001|
|Priority date||5 Jul 2001|
|Also published as||US7139616, US20030009313, US20050192678|
|Publication number||09899527, 899527, US 6925335 B2, US 6925335B2, US-B2-6925335, US6925335 B2, US6925335B2|
|Inventors||James Alan May, Miguel A. Cortes, William I. Needel|
|Original Assignee||Isochron, Llc|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (105), Non-Patent Citations (21), Referenced by (60), Classifications (27), Legal Events (7)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates generally to field asset monitoring and control. More particularly, the present invention relates to a system and apparatus for the real-time monitoring and control of field assets using wireless an Internet technologies.
Businesses in which the assets responsible for the generation of revenues are dispersed over wide geographic regions have existed for many years. For example, a vending machine operator may have hundreds of vending machines located at schools, office buildings, etc. across a large metropolitan area. Similarly, many oil companies are known to own and operate numerous oil wells located amongst multiple states if not also across multiple continents.
Managing such dispersed field assets generally requires a significant amount of resources. Typically, a technician travels a service route that takes him to each of the vending machines in the vending business operator's network. Such a service method may have the technician returning to a vending machine only once every month. As such, great expenditures of time and money are likely to be incurred in order to effect proper maintenance of each of the field assets.
In addition to the significant resources needed to effectively manage such distributed asset businesses, there also exists a substantial risk for lost revenues. For example, if a field asset becomes disabled shortly after a technician visit, it may be some time before the technician returns to the disabled asset to discover and render the needed repairs. During the down time of the field asset, no revenues can be generated by the disabled asset. Similarly, if a vending machine should deplete its inventory, that vending machine will not be able to generate revenues until a technician returns and restocks the inventory.
In accordance with teachings of the present invention, a system and apparatus are described for using wireless and Internet technologies for the real-time monitoring and control of field assets.
In one aspect of the present invention, an apparatus for managing a field asset is provided. The apparatus preferably includes memory coupled to at least one processor. The apparatus preferably further includes a communications interface coupled to the processor and the memory that is operable to communicate with a controller board coupled to the field asset. A program of instructions, storable in the memory and executable in the processor, operable to correct one or more error conditions and further operable to package uncorrected error conditions for transmission is also preferably included in the apparatus. A wireless network interface may also be included and is preferably coupled to the memory and the processor. The wireless network interface may be employed to transmit the packaged error conditions to a network operations center via a wireless network.
In yet another aspect of the present invention, a system for the Internet enabled management of a field asset is provided. The system preferably includes a field asset having a controller board operable to detect at least one error condition and a monitoring device coupled to the field asset. The monitoring device preferably includes a processor, memory coupled to the processor, a communications interface coupled to the processor, the memory and the controller board as well as a wireless network interface coupled to the memory and the processor. The communications interface of the monitoring device is preferably operable to communicate with the field asset as well as a wireless network. The system preferably further includes a network operations center coupled to the wireless network. The network operations center is preferably operable to receive alerts indicative of error conditions occurring on the field asset from the monitoring device. In addition, the network operations center is preferably operable to display at least one entry indicative of an error condition existing on the field asset via an Internet enabled remote device.
One technical advantage provided by the present invention is the ability to remotely evaluate field asset performance.
Another technical advantage provided by the present invention is the ability to manage an asset from a remote device such as a two-way pager, mobile phone, PDA (personal digital assistant), computer or similar device.
Yet another technical advantage provided by the present invention is the ability to decrease field asset downtime through the real-time notification of field asset maintenance needs.
A more complete understanding of the present embodiments and advantages thereof may be acquired by referring to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numbers indicate like features, and wherein:
Preferred embodiments of the present invention and its advantages are best understood by referring to
NOC 120 may include one or more server systems 125 as well as one or more storage devices 130 to provide access to information associated with field assets 105. NOC 120 may also employ communications server 135 to receive information from and transmit information to wireless network 115 as well as to receive information from and transmit information to Internet 110. One or more server systems 125 may be coupled to communications server 135 directly and/or through Internet 110.
As depicted in
As mentioned above, field asset 105 preferably includes monitoring device 140. Monitoring device 140 preferably employs a wireless technology solution to communicate alerts indicative of error conditions existing on field asset 105 to NOC 120. Monitoring device 140 is preferably further operable to receive control instructions from NOC 120. Monitoring device 140 preferably employs wireless network 115 for communication with NOC 120.
In one embodiment of the present invention, monitoring device 140 may be designed to poll field asset 105 to determine whether an error condition is present on field asset 105. Alternatively, monitoring device 140 may be informed of error conditions on field asset 105 by technologies included in field asset 105 notifying monitoring device 140 of the presence of the error condition's occurrence. As will be described in greater detail below, monitoring device 140 may also include the ability to address specific error conditions that occur on field asset 105. For those error conditions monitoring device 140 is not operable to correct, monitoring device 140 is preferably configured to package the uncorrected error conditions into an alert to be transmitted to NOC 120 via wireless network 115.
To provide authorized users with remote access to field asset 105 status, NOC 120 preferably updates one or more database entries on storage device 130 upon receipt of an alert from monitoring device 140. By updating the entries associated with individual field assets 105, a user, preferably via Internet 110, may connect to NOC 120 and view the current status of each field asset 105.
A user may employ a variety of user interface devices to connect to NOC 120. For example, a user may access NOC 120 via Internet 110 using computer 145, personal digital assistant (PDA) 150, mobile phone 155, pager 160 or a similarly equipped device. Other user interfaces may be used and are considered within the scope of the present invention.
In one embodiment, monitoring device 140 may be a generally self-contained unit employed to retro-fit an existing field asset 105 to accomplish teachings of the present invention. Alternatively, monitoring device 140 may be designed such that existing technologies within field asset 105 are leveraged, i.e., by adding application and control software as well as wireless communications hardware. Other monitoring device 140 designs and configurations are contemplated and are to be considered within the scope of the present invention.
Referring now to
Diagnostic module 205 is preferably operable to identify a variety of error conditions that can occur on field asset 105. In response to the identification of an error condition, diagnostic module 205 preferably generates a visible signal, such as one or more illuminated LEDs (light emitting diode), a message on a LCD (liquid crystal display), etc. to indicate to a service technician the source of the error condition.
Diagnostic module 205 preferably includes controller board 210 and serial I/O (input/output) 215. Controller board 210 is generally configured to monitor a variety of aspects or characteristics of field asset 105. For example, if field asset 105 is an ice bagging machine, controller board 210 may be configured to monitor such aspects as vend quantities, amount of change remaining in the machine, amount of sales, operation of cooling hardware, icebox temperature, etc. and further configured to generate an indicator in the event of an error condition associated with one or more of the monitored aspects. Serial I/O 215 is typically incorporated into diagnostic module 205 to allow a technician servicing field asset 105 to connect a diagnostic tool thereto. The diagnostic tool is commonly employed to download the current status of field asset 105 for use by the servicing technician.
As illustrated in
In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, monitoring device 140 is capable of storing and executing its own software. In such an embodiment, a program of instructions may be programmed in memory 230 enabling monitoring device 140 to poll diagnostic module 205 at timed intervals, or on command, to determine whether any error conditions are present on field asset 105. For example, the software may be enabled to instruct controller board 210 to test the integrity of various hardware components of field asset 105, to notify NOC 120 or remote device 125 in the event of an error condition, to access measurements taken by sensors 245 as well as to monitor and control other characteristics associated with field asset 105. In addition, a program of instructions enabling monitoring device 140 to correct specified error conditions on field asset 105 may also be programmed into memory 230. For example, monitoring device 140 may be programmed to reset various aspects of field asset 105, change to a maintenance mode as well as perform corrective measures.
In addition, management software may also be included on monitoring device 140 that allows monitoring device 140 to remotely manage field asset 105. For example, when a corrective sequence is initiated by a user from any of the aforementioned remote devices and subsequently transmitted to monitoring device 140 via NOC 120, such management software may be employed to interpret the corrective sequence and to direct controller board 210 of field asset 105 such that the operation desired by the corrective sequence is effected.
Preferably included in the remote management functionality of the present invention is the ability to update one or more programs, such as device drivers, of instructions on monitoring device 140. Accordingly, monitoring device 140 may also be operable to receive software updates via wireless network 115.
Serial interface 235 is preferably included in monitoring device 140 operably coupled to CPU 225 and memory 230. Serial interface 235 enables monitoring device 140 to monitor and control field asset 105 by enabling monitoring device 140 to communicate with controller board 210 via serial I/O 215 included in diagnostic module 205. Although a serial connection between monitoring device 140 and diagnostic module 205 is discussed herein, other communications technologies may be employed to effect the desired exchange of information. Examples of such communications technologies include, but are not limited to, RS-232, Universal Serial Bus (USB), IEEE 1394 or “Fire Wire,” and Ethernet.
Wireless network interface 240, operably coupled to CPU 225 and memory 230, is also preferably included in the hardware configuration of monitoring device 140 depicted in FIG. 2. Wireless network interface 240 is included in the hardware configuration of monitoring device 140 of
As mentioned above, NOC 120 is preferably operable to manage and control field asset 105 through monitoring device 140. As such, NOC 120 may be configured with the communications software, database software, etc., necessary to effect such operation. To that end, NOC 120 is preferably operable to provide an Internet-based management application to be used to remotely interact with the field asset 105 via monitoring device 140. Such an Internet-based management application is preferably accessible via Internet 110 using computer 145, PDA 150, mobile phone 155, two-way pager 160, etc., and preferably supports such Internet-based protocols as HTTP, SSL and XML.
Functionality preferably included in the Internet-based management application might include access to a listing of alerts that have been resolved, alerts that have not been resolved, details regarding alerts on selected field assets 105, periodic reports on monitored characteristics of field asset 105, as well as other field asset 105 variables. To the end of interactivity, the Internet-based management application is preferably further capable of remotely controlling computing component 110 via monitoring device 140. For example, a user may want to issue a maintenance command to field asset 105 in an attempt to resolve one of the alerts that has yet to be resolved. Similarly, a user may want to further investigate the source of an unresolved alert by issuing a command to monitoring device 140 that further interrogates field asset 105 in an effort to pinpoint the source of the error condition for the user. The Internet based management application may also allow a user to send software updates to monitoring device 140. More detail regarding Internet access to field asset 105 status and control will be discussed below in association with FIG. 6.
Upon initiation at 305, method 300 preferably proceeds to 310 where the current status of field asset 105 is checked. If at 310 no error conditions are detected or reported, method 300 preferably proceeds to 315. At 315, method 300 preferably remains in a wait or idle state until the next time period expires before initiation of another field asset 105 status check is to begin at 310.
If at 310 one or more error conditions are detected or reported, method 300 preferably proceeds to 320. At 320, method 300 preferably determines whether the detected error condition may be corrected by software included on monitoring device 140 or field asset 105. If at 320 it is determined that the error condition cannot be corrected by monitoring device 140, method 300 preferably proceeds to 325. At 325, the error condition is preferably packaged into an alert message to be transmitted to NOC 120. The alert message may include such information as the priority of the error condition, field asset 105 identification information, the specific error condition, as well as other telemetry information.
Once the message has been formatted, packaged and otherwise prepared for transmission, method 300 preferably proceeds to 330 where the alert is transmitted to NOC 120 via wireless network 115. Upon transmission of the alert at 330, method 300 preferably proceeds to 315 to assume the wait state.
If at 320 it is determined that the error condition can be addressed and corrected by software included in memory 230 of monitoring device 140, method 300 preferably proceeds to 335. At 335, a sequence of instructions designed to correct the error condition may be executed by monitoring device 140. Upon execution of the appropriate sequence of instructions at 335, method 300 preferably proceeds to 340.
At 340, the effectiveness of the corrective sequence of instructions is determined. If the corrective sequence of instructions is determined to have been ineffective, i.e., the error condition is still present, method 300 preferably returns to 335 for either a repeat of the sequence of corrective instructions or selection of an alternate sequence of instructions. A limit may be implemented on the number of loops allowed to occur at 340 before method 300 is forced to proceed to step 325 where the error condition is packaged and subsequently transmitted to NOC 120. Once the error condition has been corrected or the number of attempts to solve the error condition have been exhausted, method 300 preferably proceeds to 315 to await the next field asset 105 status check.
As mentioned above, field asset 105 may be configured to provide monitoring device 140 with real-time notification upon detection of an error condition. In such an embodiment, method 300 may be altered to accommodate this error condition detection difference while maintaining the ability to accomplish teachings of the present invention.
Referring now to
At 410, the alert is preferably parsed, decoded, decompressed or otherwise prepared for use by NOC 120. Once the alert has been prepared for use by NOC 120 at 410, method 400 preferably proceeds to 415.
At 415, one or more databases on storage devices 130 may be updated to reflect the new error condition on field asset 105. Depending upon the error condition and upon user preference settings, a user alert, such as an automatic page or other electronic message, may be generated in response to certain error conditions detected on field asset 105. For example, a user may wish to be immediately notified in the event of a complete failure of field asset 105. As will be discussed in greater detail below, database entries associated with error conditions detected on individual field assets 105 are used by NOC 120 to display to users accessing the status of field assets 105 via one or more Internet-enabled devices. Once method 400 has alerted a user where requested at 420, method 400 preferably proceeds to 405 where another alert message is awaited.
Referring now to
At 510, method 500 preferably authenticates the user's identity. Authentication of users may be performed using a variety of authentication techniques, i.e., requesting a username and password for comparison with information stored on one or more storage devices 130, as well as by other methods used by Internet websites to authorize users.
Once the user has been authenticated at 510, a web page listing the authorized user's field assets 105 may be presented. As will be discussed in greater detail below, the user's field assets 105 may be formatted for display on an Internet-enabled remote device such as computer 145, PDA 150, mobile phone 155 or pager 160.
From the listing of the authorized user's field assets 105 displayed at 515, the user may select one or more field asset links to view the details associated with that particular field asset's 105 status at 520. Once the user is presented with the details regarding the error conditions detected at the selected field assets 105, the user has the option to initiate one or more control instructions to be transmitted to and/or executed at the field asset 105. Once a user has selected to transmit one or more control instructions from NOC 120 to field asset 105, the transmission and initiation of the corrective sequence is performed at 525.
Once the corrective sequence has been transmitted to the selected field asset 105, method 500 preferably proceeds to 530 where the effectiveness of the corrective sequence is evaluated. Upon the determination that the error condition has been corrected and no longer exists, method 500 preferably proceeds to 535. At 535, the database containing entries indicative of the status of the repaired field asset 105 is preferably updated to reflect the corrected error condition. Method 500 may then proceed to 505 where another user is awaited or to 515 for a redisplay of the user's field assets 105. If at 530 the error condition is determined to still exist, method 500 preferably proceeds to 520 where the user is again allowed to select a corrective sequence for transmission and execution by field asset 105.
In frame 605 of web page 600, a listing of an authorized user's field asset 105 links is preferably displayed. From the field asset link listing in frame 605, an authorized user is capable of monitoring and controlling each of the enumerated field assets 105 contained therein. Upon selection of a specific field asset link, the user is preferably presented with frame 610.
Preferably included in the field asset 105 detail of frame 610 is field asset 105 identification information 615. Identification information 615 may include such information as the type of field asset 105, i.e., vending machine, ice bagging machine, etc., physical location of field asset 105 as well as other information. As indicated at 620 of web page 600, field asset 105 information such as serial number, make and model, may also be displayed to the user. At 625, current characteristics, such as operating temperature and inventory count, of field asset 105 may also be displayed in frame 610.
In order to enable a user to remotely manage and monitor field asset 105, a display similar to that available to a service technician at the field asset 105 location may also be provided in frame 610. Accordingly, LED display 630 is preferably included in frame 610. LED display 630 preferably simulates the LED display the technician would see if the technician were physically present at field asset 105. Similarly, mode indicator 635 and additional information display 640 are also preferably included in web page 600. Each field asset 105 characteristic that is monitored by monitoring device 140 or diagnostic module 205 is preferably made available to a user on web page 600.
As mentioned above, a variety of control instructions may be needed to correct error conditions on field asset 105. To effect remote correction of an error condition on field asset 105, control panel or control options display 645 is preferably included in web page 600. Control options display 645 preferably includes the control options typically available to a technician physically present at field asset 105. Additional control options may also be included in control options display 645 to provide the user with greater control over field asset 105.
Web page 600 also preferably enables a user to address a variety of error conditions that may arise at field asset 105. By interpreting LED display 630, mode indicator 635, etc., the user may evaluate and determine the current error condition on field asset 105. Once an error condition has been identified and determined to be remotely addressable, the user may then select one or more control options from control options display 645 to correct the current error condition. The control options may be selected by a user from one of the aforementioned remote devices. Once a selection is made, NOC 120 transmits the instruction to monitoring device 140 as described above with reference to FIG. 5. As described above, once an error condition has been corrected, web page 600 may be updated to reflect the corrected status of field asset 105.
Although the present invention has been described with respect to a specific preferred embodiment thereof, various changes and modifications may be suggested to one skilled in the art and it is intended that the present invention encompass such changes and modifications fall within the scope of the appended claims.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US3784737||12 Jan 1973||8 Jan 1974||United Aircraft Corp||Hybrid data compression|
|US4412292||17 Feb 1981||25 Oct 1983||The Coca-Cola Company||System for the remote monitoring of vending machines|
|US4454670||4 Dec 1981||19 Jun 1984||The Coca-Cola Company||Vending machine display panel with utility module therein|
|US4553211||22 Aug 1983||12 Nov 1985||Fuji Electric Co., Ltd.||Vending machine with doors|
|US4661862||27 Apr 1984||28 Apr 1987||Rca Corporation||Differential PCM video transmission system employing horizontally offset five pixel groups and delta signals having plural non-linear encoding functions|
|US4677565||11 Feb 1986||30 Jun 1987||Brother Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha||Automatic vending system|
|US4766548||2 Jan 1987||23 Aug 1988||Pepsico Inc.||Telelink monitoring and reporting system|
|US4850009||31 May 1988||18 Jul 1989||Clinicom Incorporated||Portable handheld terminal including optical bar code reader and electromagnetic transceiver means for interactive wireless communication with a base communications station|
|US4954697||6 Apr 1989||4 Sep 1990||Sanden Corporation||Vending apparatus for self-service store|
|US5029098||27 Jan 1989||2 Jul 1991||Coin Acceptors, Inc.||Vend space allocation monitor means and method|
|US5077582||20 Apr 1989||31 Dec 1991||Monitel Products Corp.||Photocopy monitoring system|
|US5090589||20 Feb 1987||25 Feb 1992||The Coca-Cola Company||Coin-operated vending machine|
|US5091713||10 May 1990||25 Feb 1992||Universal Automated Systems, Inc.||Inventory, cash, security, and maintenance control apparatus and method for a plurality of remote vending machines|
|US5117407||8 Feb 1989||26 May 1992||Vogel Peter S||Vending machine with synthesized description messages|
|US5184179||31 Jul 1991||2 Feb 1993||Monitel Products Corp.||Photocopy monitoring system and method for monitoring copiers|
|US5207784||29 Jul 1991||4 May 1993||Wilbur Schwartzendruber||Vending machine with monitoring system|
|US5239480||12 Feb 1991||24 Aug 1993||Ais Infonetics Inc.||Automatic ticket dispensing system|
|US5255819||18 Mar 1991||26 Oct 1993||Peckels Arganious E||Method and apparatus for manual dispensing from discrete vessels with electronic system control and dispensing data generation on each vessel, data transmission by radio or interrogator, and remote data recording|
|US5282127||19 Nov 1990||25 Jan 1994||Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.||Centralized control system for terminal device|
|US5337253||24 Sep 1993||9 Aug 1994||Kaspar Wire Works, Inc.||Vending machine data processing system|
|US5339250||22 Oct 1992||16 Aug 1994||Inn Room Systems, Inc.||Interactive network for remotely controlled hotel vending systems|
|US5371348||16 Oct 1992||6 Dec 1994||Khyber Technologies Corporation||Portable device for handsfree data entry with variably-positionable display/scanner module detachable for handheld use|
|US5386360||1 Apr 1992||31 Jan 1995||Ansan Industries Ltd.||Peripheral data acquisition, monitor, and adaptive control system via personal computer|
|US5400246||5 Aug 1992||21 Mar 1995||Ansan Industries, Ltd.||Peripheral data acquisition, monitor, and adaptive control system via personal computer|
|US5418945||18 May 1992||23 May 1995||Motorola, Inc.||File based and highly available hybrid database|
|US5445295||17 Jan 1992||29 Aug 1995||Brown; Graham||Automated vending machine system for recorded goods|
|US5505349||26 Oct 1993||9 Apr 1996||Berg Company, A Division Of Dec International, Inc.||Electronic dispensing heads|
|US5507411||6 Jun 1995||16 Apr 1996||Berg Company, A Division Of Dec International, Inc.||Electronic dispensing heads|
|US5561604||22 Oct 1990||1 Oct 1996||Hallmark Cards, Incorporated||Computer controlled system for vending personalized products|
|US5608643||1 Sep 1994||4 Mar 1997||General Programming Holdings, Inc.||System for managing multiple dispensing units and method of operation|
|US5620079 *||3 May 1994||15 Apr 1997||Coinstar, Inc.||Coin counter/sorter and coupon/voucher dispensing machine and method|
|US5671362||4 Apr 1995||23 Sep 1997||Cowe; Alan B.||Materials monitoring systems, materials management systems and related methods|
|US5701252||1 Aug 1994||23 Dec 1997||Facchin; Daniela||Distribution network system for products and information|
|US5708223||25 Jan 1996||13 Jan 1998||Leer Manufacturing Limited Partnership||Remote sensing ice merchandiser|
|US5787149||16 Nov 1995||28 Jul 1998||Equitrac Corporation||Method and apparatus for managing remotely located document producing machines by using cellular radios|
|US5794144||25 Mar 1996||11 Aug 1998||Bellsouth Corporation||Methods and apparatus for communicating data via a cellular mobile radiotelephone system|
|US5805997||26 Jan 1996||8 Sep 1998||Bell Atlantic Network Services, Inc.||System for sending control signals from a subscriber station to a network controller using cellular digital packet data (CDPD) communication|
|US5815652||30 May 1996||29 Sep 1998||Hitachi, Ltd.||Computer management system|
|US5818603 *||29 Mar 1996||6 Oct 1998||Ricoh Company, Ltd.||Method and system for controlling and communicating with machines using multiple communication formats|
|US5822216||18 Sep 1996||13 Oct 1998||Satchell, Jr.; James A.||Vending machine and computer assembly|
|US5842597||10 Dec 1996||1 Dec 1998||Cigar Vending Corp.||Environmentally controlled vending machine for humidity sensitive products|
|US5844808||30 Mar 1995||1 Dec 1998||Konsmo; +527 Ystein||Apparatus and methods for monitoring and communicating with a plurality of networked remote vending machines|
|US5850187||27 Mar 1996||15 Dec 1998||Amtech Corporation||Integrated electronic tag reader and wireless communication link|
|US5860362||10 Mar 1997||19 Jan 1999||Ncr Corporation||Newspaper vending machine with online connection|
|US5862517||17 Jan 1997||19 Jan 1999||Fox Sports Productions, Inc.||System for re-registering a sensor during a live event|
|US5867688||14 Feb 1994||2 Feb 1999||Reliable Transaction Processing, Inc.||Data acquisition and retrieval system with wireless handheld user interface|
|US5892758||27 Sep 1996||6 Apr 1999||Qualcomm Incorporated||Concentrated subscriber wireless remote telemetry system|
|US5898904||13 Oct 1995||27 Apr 1999||General Wireless Communications, Inc.||Two-way wireless data network having a transmitter having a range greater than portions of the service areas|
|US5905442||7 Feb 1996||18 May 1999||Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.||Method and apparatus for controlling and determining the status of electrical devices from remote locations|
|US5905882||24 Jan 1996||18 May 1999||Sony Corporation||Electronic-equipment control apparatus, electronic-equipment control method and electronic-equipment control system|
|US5907491||4 Apr 1997||25 May 1999||Csi Technology, Inc.||Wireless machine monitoring and communication system|
|US5909183||26 Dec 1996||1 Jun 1999||Motorola, Inc.||Interactive appliance remote controller, system and method|
|US5915207||22 Jan 1996||22 Jun 1999||Hughes Electronics Corporation||Mobile and wireless information dissemination architecture and protocols|
|US5918213||22 Dec 1995||29 Jun 1999||Mci Communications Corporation||System and method for automated remote previewing and purchasing of music, video, software, and other multimedia products|
|US5924081||14 Nov 1995||13 Jul 1999||Audit Systems Co.||Vending machine audit monitoring system with matrix interface|
|US5930770||2 Dec 1996||27 Jul 1999||Edgar; Steve||Portable computer and printer for tracking inventory|
|US5930771||20 Dec 1996||27 Jul 1999||Stapp; Dennis Stephen||Inventory control and remote monitoring apparatus and method for coin-operable vending machines|
|US5941363||31 Jul 1996||24 Aug 1999||Proactive Vending Technology, Llc||Vending data collection system|
|US5943042||5 Oct 1995||24 Aug 1999||International Business Machines Corporation||Control method and system for objects on a computer|
|US5949779||8 May 1997||7 Sep 1999||Ericsson, Inc.||Multiprotocol adaptor for communication between CEBus devices and remote controllers over an ATM-based broadband access network|
|US5956487||25 Oct 1996||21 Sep 1999||Hewlett-Packard Company||Embedding web access mechanism in an appliance for user interface functions including a web server and web browser|
|US5957262 *||5 Feb 1998||28 Sep 1999||Coinstar, Inc.||Coin counter dejamming method and apparatus|
|US5959536||15 Oct 1996||28 Sep 1999||Philips Electronics North America Corporation||Task-driven distributed multimedia consumer system|
|US5959869||3 Dec 1996||28 Sep 1999||The Coca-Cola Company||Vending machine controller and system|
|US5982325||24 Nov 1997||9 Nov 1999||Racom Corporation||Method for tracking real time road conditions|
|US5982652||14 Jul 1998||9 Nov 1999||American Power Conversion||Method and apparatus for providing uninterruptible power using a power controller and a redundant power controller|
|US5986219||14 Jan 1998||16 Nov 1999||Bar Beverage Control, Inc.||Method of inventorying liquor|
|US5991749||9 Sep 1997||23 Nov 1999||Morrill, Jr.; Paul H.||Wireless telephony for collecting tolls, conducting financial transactions, and authorizing other activities|
|US5997170||3 Nov 1997||7 Dec 1999||Ident, Inc.||System and method for reporting vending status|
|US6003070||25 Feb 1997||14 Dec 1999||Intervvoice Limited Partnership||E-mail system and interface for equipment monitoring and control|
|US6005850||21 Aug 1996||21 Dec 1999||Hybrid Networks, Inc.||Hybrid access system with remote device monitoring scheme|
|US6012041||28 Feb 1997||4 Jan 2000||I.S.R. (Logistics) Limited||Apparatus for the control of inventory|
|US6021324||8 Jun 1995||1 Feb 2000||Lucent Technologies Inc.||System and apparatus for controlling an appliance situated within a premises using premises recording unit|
|US6021437||14 Jul 1997||1 Feb 2000||Bull S.A.||Process and system for real-time monitoring of a data processing system for its administration and maintenance support in the operating phase|
|US6029143||6 Jun 1997||22 Feb 2000||Brightpoint, Inc.||Wireless communication product fulfillment system|
|US6032202||6 Jan 1998||29 Feb 2000||Sony Corporation Of Japan||Home audio/video network with two level device control|
|US6038491||26 Nov 1997||14 Mar 2000||Mars, Incorporated||Monitoring and reporting system using cellular carriers|
|US6052667||21 Sep 1998||18 Apr 2000||Walker Digital, Llc||Method and apparatus for selling an aging food product as a substitute for an ordered product|
|US6052750||6 Jan 1998||18 Apr 2000||Sony Corporation Of Japan||Home audio/video network for generating default control parameters for devices coupled to the network, and replacing updated control parameters therewith|
|US6056194||28 Aug 1995||2 May 2000||Usa Technologies, Inc.||System and method for networking and controlling vending machines|
|US6057758||20 May 1998||2 May 2000||Hewlett-Packard Company||Handheld clinical terminal|
|US6061668 *||10 Nov 1997||9 May 2000||Sharrow; John Anthony||Control system for pay-per-use applications|
|US6068305||8 Jul 1998||30 May 2000||Fort Lock Corporation||Lock assembly for vending machines and method for locking and unlocking same|
|US6070070||20 Jan 1999||30 May 2000||Aeris.Net||Method and apparatus for remote telephony switch control|
|US6072521||6 Jan 1998||6 Jun 2000||Intel Corporation||Hand held apparatus for simulating two way connectivity for one way data streams|
|US6085888||14 Jul 1999||11 Jul 2000||Walker Digital, Llc||Method and apparatus for establishing and managing vending machine subscriptions|
|US6119100||6 Oct 1997||12 Sep 2000||Walker Digital, Llc.||Method and apparatus for managing the sale of aging products|
|US6131399||4 Dec 1998||17 Oct 2000||Hall; Donald M.||Refrigerated vending machine|
|US6161059||14 Sep 1998||12 Dec 2000||Walker Digital, Llc||Vending machine method and apparatus for encouraging participation in a marketing effort|
|US6181981||15 May 1996||30 Jan 2001||Marconi Communications Limited||Apparatus and method for improved vending machine inventory maintenance|
|US6185545||17 Nov 1999||6 Feb 2001||Prenet Corporation||Electronic payment system utilizing intermediary account|
|US6230150||31 Mar 1998||8 May 2001||Walker Digital, Llc||Vending machine evaluation network|
|US6272395||3 Dec 1999||7 Aug 2001||Ident, Inc.||System and method for reporting vending status|
|US6289453||8 Sep 1998||11 Sep 2001||Walker Digital, Llc||Method and apparatus for secure measurement certification|
|US6304895||23 Jul 1999||16 Oct 2001||Apex Inc.||Method and system for intelligently controlling a remotely located computer|
|US6324520||1 Oct 1998||27 Nov 2001||Walker Digital, Llc||Method and apparatus for collecting and applying vending machine demand information|
|US6338149||31 Jul 1998||8 Jan 2002||Westinghouse Electric Company Llc||Change monitoring system for a computer system|
|US6339731||3 Sep 1999||15 Jan 2002||Mars Incorporated||Configurable vending machine audit module|
|US6341271||13 Nov 1998||22 Jan 2002||General Electric Company||Inventory management system and method|
|US6356794||14 Sep 2000||12 Mar 2002||Interlott Technologies, Inc.||Item dispensing system network|
|US6385772 *||15 Apr 1999||7 May 2002||Texas Instruments Incorporated||Monitoring system having wireless remote viewing and control|
|US6437692||12 Nov 1999||20 Aug 2002||Statsignal Systems, Inc.||System and method for monitoring and controlling remote devices|
|US6442532||17 Aug 1998||27 Aug 2002||Transaction Technology Inc.||Wireless transaction and information system|
|US6457038 *||12 Mar 1999||24 Sep 2002||Isochron Data Corporation||Wide area network operation's center that sends and receives data from vending machines|
|US6462644||19 Nov 1998||8 Oct 2002||The Coca-Cola Company||Network of vending machines connected interactively to data-base building host|
|1||"Coke Machine Signal when it's Time for a Refill", The Globe & Mail, Toranto, Ontario, Aug. 30, 1995.|
|2||"Left high and dry? Sold-out machine sends for cokes", Nashville Banner, Aug. 16, 1995.|
|3||"Meet the Smart Coke Machine, " The Sacramento Bee Business Technology, Aug. 30, 1995.|
|4||"Skywire Provides Details of Wireless 'VendView' System", Vending Times, Sep. 1994.|
|5||American Power Conversion Internet Article, "Lightning Advisor," at internet, <http://lightning.apcc.com>, Printed May 10, 2000.|
|6||American Products Internet Article, "Product Information," at internet, <http://www.apc.com>, Printed May 10, 2000.|
|7||International Preliminary Examination Report PCT/US01/31381, Mailed May 12, 2003.|
|8||International Search Report for PCT/US99/05983, Aug. 13, 1999.|
|9||International Search Report for PCT/US99/05983, Mailed Aug. 13, 1999.|
|10||International Search Report PCT/US 01/31381, Mailed Nov. 7, 2002.|
|11||International Search Report PCT/US 03/37776, Mailed May 17, 2004.|
|12||International Search Report PCT/US01/15522, Mailed May 16, 2002.|
|13||NetBotz Internet Article, "Welcome to Netbotz" at internet <http:www.netbotz.com>, Printed May 10, 2000.|
|14||Pate, Kelly, "Skywire Allows Vendor Tracking of Pop Stock and Sales Details", RCR, vol. 14, No. 17, Sep. 4, 1995.|
|15||PCT Search Report PCT/US 01/41640, Mailed Aug. 21, 2002.|
|16||PCT Search Report PCT/US01/16749, Mailed Dec. 20, 2001.|
|17||Pending U.S. Appl. No. 09/853,366, entitled Method and System for the Optimal Formatting, Reduction and Compression of DEX/UCS Data filed May 11, 2001 by Defossť et al.|
|18||Pending U.S. Appl. No. 09/895,647, entitled Method and System for Interfacing a Machine Controller and a Wireless Network filed Jun. 29, 2001 by Defossť et al.|
|19||U.S. Pending Appl. No. 09/267,254 entitled "Remote Data Acquistion and Transmission System and Method" filed by Erin M. Defossť, filed Mar. 12, 1999.|
|20||U.S. Pending Appl. No. 09/862,891, entitled "System and Apparatus for the Remote Monitoring and Control of a Computing Component" filed by Erin M. Defossť, filed May 22, 2001.|
|21||Wireless Communications Forum, CTIA, vol. III, No. 1, Apr. 1995.|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US7139616 *||2 May 2005||21 Nov 2006||Isochron, Llc||Real-time alert mechanism for monitoring and controlling field assets via wireless and internet technologies|
|US7181517 *||2 Jun 2000||20 Feb 2007||Astec International Limited||Browser-enabled remote user interface for telecommunications power system|
|US7254601 *||20 Dec 2001||7 Aug 2007||Questra Corporation||Method and apparatus for managing intelligent assets in a distributed environment|
|US7317952 *||20 Jun 2005||8 Jan 2008||Honeywell International Inc.||Managing field devices having different device description specifications in a process control system|
|US7398127 *||4 Jan 2005||8 Jul 2008||Edwards Vacuum, Inc.||Systems and methods for facilitating wireless communication between various components of a distributed system|
|US7698405 *||7 Jan 2005||13 Apr 2010||Lantronix, Inc.||MILARRS systems and methods|
|US7778600||6 Oct 2006||17 Aug 2010||Crane Merchandising Systems, Inc.||Apparatus and method to provide multiple wireless communication paths to and from remotely located equipment|
|US7937370||21 Feb 2007||3 May 2011||Axeda Corporation||Retrieving data from a server|
|US7966418||20 Feb 2004||21 Jun 2011||Axeda Corporation||Establishing a virtual tunnel between two computer programs|
|US7997484||18 Dec 2006||16 Aug 2011||Crane Merchandising Systems, Inc.||Rich content management and display for use in remote field assets|
|US8005425||10 Apr 2006||23 Aug 2011||Crane Merchandising Systems, Inc.||Method and system for interfacing a machine controller and a wireless network|
|US8035508||29 Nov 2007||11 Oct 2011||Intelligent Technologies International, Inc.||Monitoring using cellular phones|
|US8055758||14 Aug 2006||8 Nov 2011||Axeda Corporation||Reporting the state of an apparatus to a remote computer|
|US8060886||12 Feb 2007||15 Nov 2011||Axeda Corporation||XML scripting of SOAP commands|
|US8065397||26 Dec 2006||22 Nov 2011||Axeda Acquisition Corporation||Managing configurations of distributed devices|
|US8108543||17 Apr 2002||31 Jan 2012||Axeda Corporation||Retrieving data from a server|
|US8159338 *||27 Apr 2006||17 Apr 2012||Automotive Technologies International, Inc.||Asset monitoring arrangement and method|
|US8219661 *||12 Aug 2011||10 Jul 2012||Lantronix, Inc.||MILARRS systems and methods|
|US8240573||24 Dec 2008||14 Aug 2012||Pranasys S.A.||Container for electronic device that allows multiple functions over a vending machine|
|US8291039||11 May 2011||16 Oct 2012||Axeda Corporation||Establishing a virtual tunnel between two computer programs|
|US8314965||15 Apr 2011||20 Nov 2012||Emerge Print Management, Llc||Patrol device field installation notification method and system|
|US8328438||9 Mar 2012||11 Dec 2012||Spinnaker Process Instruments||Networked freezer stocking management|
|US8330984||18 Mar 2010||11 Dec 2012||Emerge Paint Management, LLC||Field metering patrol system and method for metering and monitoring printers|
|US8341464 *||28 Apr 2010||25 Dec 2012||Microsoft Corporation||Diagnostic dashboard for web pages|
|US8370479||5 Feb 2013||Axeda Acquisition Corporation||System and method for dynamically grouping devices based on present device conditions|
|US8396589 *||3 Nov 2008||12 Mar 2013||Pranasys S.A.||Electronic device for the sale of intangible products in vending machines|
|US8406119||29 Sep 2006||26 Mar 2013||Axeda Acquisition Corporation||Adaptive device-initiated polling|
|US8478861||6 Jul 2007||2 Jul 2013||Axeda Acquisition Corp.||Managing distributed devices with limited connectivity|
|US8484068||14 Dec 2005||9 Jul 2013||Crane Merchandising Systems, Inc.||Method and system for evaluating consumer demand for multiple products and services at remotely located equipment|
|US8533315 *||25 Oct 2007||10 Sep 2013||Crane Merchandising Systems, Inc.||Systems and methods for monitoring performance of field assets|
|US8545113||10 Dec 2012||1 Oct 2013||Spinnaker Process Instruments||Networked freezer stocking management|
|US8631093 *||16 Nov 2006||14 Jan 2014||Crane Merchandising Systems, Inc.||Remote data acquisition, transmission and analysis system including handheld wireless equipment|
|US8752074||4 Oct 2011||10 Jun 2014||Axeda Corporation||Scripting of soap commands|
|US8762497||19 Dec 2011||24 Jun 2014||Axeda Corporation||Retrieving data from a server|
|US8769095||26 Dec 2012||1 Jul 2014||Axeda Acquisition Corp.||System and method for dynamically grouping devices based on present device conditions|
|US8788632||4 Oct 2011||22 Jul 2014||Axeda Acquisition Corp.||Managing configurations of distributed devices|
|US8850779||25 Jan 2011||7 Oct 2014||International Ice Bagging Systems, Llc||Ice bagging system|
|US8898294||3 Oct 2011||25 Nov 2014||Axeda Corporation||Reporting the state of an apparatus to a remote computer|
|US8959028||2 Jul 2007||17 Feb 2015||Crane Merchandising Systems, Inc.||Apparatus and method for monitoring and control of remotely located equipment|
|US9002980||13 Sep 2012||7 Apr 2015||Axeda Corporation||Establishing a virtual tunnel between two computer programs|
|US9013322||9 Apr 2007||21 Apr 2015||Lufkin Industries, Llc||Real-time onsite internet communication with well manager for constant well optimization|
|US9128137||1 Feb 2013||8 Sep 2015||Carter Fuel Systems, Llc||Electrical diagnostic tool|
|US9170902||20 Feb 2013||27 Oct 2015||Ptc Inc.||Adaptive device-initiated polling|
|US20030097474 *||27 Dec 2002||22 May 2003||Isochron Data Corporation||Method and system for the efficient communication of data with and between remote computing devices|
|US20030118353 *||20 Dec 2001||26 Jun 2003||Baller Eric Henry||Method and apparatus for managing intelligent assets in a distributed environment|
|US20060031544 *||22 Jun 2004||9 Feb 2006||Digi International Inc.||Device server access using a data-type aware markup language|
|US20060106490 *||14 Nov 2005||18 May 2006||Admmicro, Llc||Vending machine monitoring system|
|US20060148481 *||4 Jan 2005||6 Jul 2006||Michael Boger||Systems and methods for facilitating wireless communication between various components of a distributed system|
|US20060156054 *||7 Jan 2005||13 Jul 2006||Lantronix, Inc.||Milarrs systems and methods|
|US20060220842 *||27 Apr 2006||5 Oct 2006||Automotive Technologies International, Inc.||Asset Monitoring Arrangement and Method|
|US20060229738 *||20 Jun 2005||12 Oct 2006||Bhandiwad Deepak S||Managing field devices having different device description specifications in a process control system|
|US20070112907 *||16 Nov 2006||17 May 2007||Defosse Erin M||Remote Data Acquisition, Transmission And Analysis System Including Handheld Wireless Equipment|
|US20080309965 *||14 Jun 2007||18 Dec 2008||Dex Imaging||Apparatus and method for discovering printers within an enterprise|
|US20090055029 *||9 Apr 2007||26 Feb 2009||Lufkin Industries, Inc.||Real-time onsite internet communication with well manager for constant well optimization|
|US20090164043 *||22 Dec 2008||25 Jun 2009||Pranasys Sociedad Anonima||Platform to Perform Remote Commercial Transactions by Means of Vending Machines|
|US20090177319 *||3 Nov 2008||9 Jul 2009||Pranasys S.A.||Electronic Device for the Sale of Intangible Products in Vending Machines|
|US20090177767 *||7 Jan 2008||9 Jul 2009||Robertshaw Controls Company||Local Web Server Based Controller|
|US20090281676 *||12 Nov 2009||Beavis Russell H||Systems, Apparatus, and Methods for the Management and Control of Remotely Controlled Devices|
|US20110271149 *||28 Apr 2010||3 Nov 2011||Microsoft Corporation||Diagnostic dashboard for web pages|
|US20120016925 *||19 Jan 2012||Lantronix, Inc.||Milarrs systems and methods|
|U.S. Classification||700/9, 700/81, 709/219, 700/83, 700/79, 700/80, 700/65, 709/217, 714/E11.179, 700/82, 709/218|
|International Classification||G06F11/07, G05B23/02, G06F11/30|
|Cooperative Classification||G06F11/0748, G06F11/3013, G06F11/3055, G06F11/0742, G06F11/0793, G06F11/0769, G06F11/3068|
|European Classification||G06F11/07P4A, G06F11/07P1J5, G06F11/07P1L, G06F11/30A3, G06F11/30D, G06F11/30R1|
|5 Jul 2001||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: ISOCHRON DATA CORPORATION, TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MAY, JAMES ALAN;CORTES,MIGUEL A.;NEEDEL,WILLIAM I.;REEL/FRAME:011984/0379
Effective date: 20010628
|9 Sep 2004||AS||Assignment|
|4 Dec 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: ISOCHRON, INC., TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ISOCHRON, LLC;REEL/FRAME:018573/0384
Effective date: 20061110
|2 Feb 2009||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|16 Feb 2009||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: STREAMWARE CORPORATION,MASSACHUSETTS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ISOCHRON INC.;REEL/FRAME:022259/0175
Effective date: 20081201
|21 Apr 2010||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: CRANE MERCHANDISING SYSTEMS, INC.,MISSOURI
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:STREAMWARE CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:024262/0932
Effective date: 20091222
Owner name: CRANE MERCHANDISING SYSTEMS, INC., MISSOURI
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:STREAMWARE CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:024262/0932
Effective date: 20091222
|4 Feb 2013||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8